Classic Hondas on the Dragon III - No Honda Left Behind

The kindness of those who attend this event was really the highlight this year!

Classic Hondas on the Dragon II

A large group of classic Hondas driving together is truly something special to behold!

2017 Mitty - Day 1: Coker Tire Tour

An incredible drive through southeast Tennessee and northwest Georgia, capped off with the best vintage racing out there.

Honda Dreams Do Come True

I bet you didn't realize that your first gen dream car was in Austria all this time!

Letting Go

Even the best laid plans don't promise success. Find out how I learned that the hard way.

Monday, December 22, 2014

One Man's Garbage is Another's Treasure

One Man's Garbage is Another's Treasure

by Stephen Dettman

These days, there are fewer times in most people's lives where something truly surprising happens.  A moment of clarity, a selfless act of generosity, a lucky break.  Happily, my tribute build, named "Red Daily", came out of one of these rare circumstances.  

I was in the middle of what I thought was my tribute project.  I had, within the last 6 months, found an amazing deal on craigslist, while searching for replacement parts for my current car, nicknamed "Skittle".  It was a 1987 CRX HF that had been sitting in a field for quite some time.  In fact, you could barely make out the color of the car through the layers of dust and dirt.  Regardless of the amount of dirt and grime that it had collected, I could see from the pictures that it was in very good condition.  Not only was the car in good shape, the price was great as well.  A couple calls were made and within a day or so, I was pulling into the seller's driveway on my two-wheeled Honda.  A couple hundred dollars later and it was mine.  It was an easy decision to make, especially after the discovery of the carbureted JDM ZC engine that had been swapped into the car by the seller.  He had simply been unsuccessful getting it to run correctly, so he abandoned the car, and moved on to other things.  

With this new purchase, I now had one too many 1st Gens in my garage.  I had decided to salvage the parts from my original CRX to complete the ZC car, and sell what was left for parts, but before that, the first thing I did was hit the internet with a new found sense of excitement for my project.  With the rare engine, I knew I'd be building a one-of-a-kind car.  As I was scouring craigslist, ebay, and multiple forums, I found a thread on my regular forum ( that caught my eye.  What really caught my eye was the word, 'free'.  Yes, there was a forum member that was giving away his car.  Not only that, but the car was only about an hour away.  The thread said that the first person to show up with a trailer or tow truck, would immediately become the new owner.  There was no way I could pass this up.  I was at work at the time, so I went straight to my boss and presented him with the situation.  He kindly consented to give me the rest of the day off to pick up the car, and about an hour later, I was on the road with car dolly in tow.  I couldn't wait to see the car.  The owner had mentioned that the car had several aftermarket parts on it from a previous owner, and since aftermarket parts for 1st Gens are relatively rare, I was especially excited to see what they were.  

The owner had directed me to an auto repair shop where the car was being held.  I was given the name of the shop owner, and instructed to ask about the 'red CRX in the back'.  It seemed a little 'cloak and dagger', but I was not about to pass up on this opportunity.  I walked in, asked for the owner, and he quickly told me to pull around to the back of the shop.  The shop backed up to a wooded area so I wasn't able to catch a glimpse of the car when I drove up.  As I maneuvered the car and dolly around parked cars and stacks of parts, I rounded the corner of the shop and there it was.  A two-toned, red and gray, 1985 CRX SI!  It looked rough, however.  The nose panel was gone, the wheels were not factory, the tires were almost flat, there was rust around the rear wheel wells, and the paint was very faded.  I pulled up in front of it and jumped out to get a closer look.  I immediately noticed that the car was sitting lower than stock.  This could mean that the suspension was shot, but I remained hopeful as I continued to looked around.  Soon, the positives started to appear, and there were many.  The exhaust, however unattractive, was in fact, a full 2" aftermarket, cat-back exhaust.  The nose panel was not there, but the headlight surrounds were there and in good condition.  The interior was dirty, but all there, and in good condition.  It had front and rear Lightspeed sway bars, a DC Sports front strut bar, Koni Yellow shocks on all four corners, with a spare set in the trunk, Eibach lowering springs in the rear, and a K&N air filter among other things.  I quickly realized what I was getting into.  This was a treasure chest of 'period' aftermarket parts.  At this point my heart was pounding, and I kept having to wipe the drool off my face (figuratively).  This was one of those special moments.  I was truly shocked by what I had found.  

I later discovered from further communication with the previous owner, that he had purchased the car for his kids as a daily driver, while they were in high school.  The guy he had purchase the car from was the owner responsible for the aftermarket parts collection, and who had raced the car at Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia.  After his second child went off to college, he had no use for the car, so he decided to donate the car to the owner of the shop where I had been directed.  After close inspection, the shop owner discovered a nasty rust hole that had developed on the panhard bar brace.  This was serious.  The shop owner decided to revert the ownership back to the guy I purchased the car from, and instructed him to get it off his property as soon as possible.  That's where I happily joined the story.  He met me later to give me even more spare parts that he had collected.  We chatted a little more and he told me that he had intended on restoring the car himself, but he wasn't able to set aside the time to follow through.  I took the time to thank him for his generosity and assured him that his car had found a good home.  

Unfortunately, I never did see that forum member online again, and I lost his contact information.  If you are out there, I am still very thankful for your generosity and I will be forever grateful!  Thank you.  

 The final aftermarket parts list:
3 Sets of Koni Yellow shocks
Eibach Lowering Springs
Lightspeed Front Sway Bar
Lightspeed Rear Sway Bar
Slotted Front brake rotors
Custom 2" Cat back Exhaust
Heeltoe Radiator Plate
K&N Air filter
DC Sports Front Strut Tower Brace
DC Sports 4-1 header
After Market Oil Gauge

My initial plan for the red SI was to take all the aftermarket parts and put them on the CRX with the ZC engine, but everything changed when I started taking apart the car.  Keep an eye out for the whole story of how this car became my tribute car to the cars I fell in love with years ago.